The Rules for Texas Horseshoes

Rules for Texas horseshoes don't call for any actual horseshoes. Also known as hillbilly horseshoes or washers, this game involves pitching washers, not horseshoes, at two boards with three holes. The object of the game is to score 21 points before your opponent.

Setting up a Texas Horseshoes Game
Set the washer boards 10 feet apart. The measurement is taken from the front of the board. The foul line is the front of the board that you're standing closest to. For two contestants (one-on-one), the players stand at the end of one board. Each person takes turns throwing his or her three washers, one at a time. In a team setting, each team has a player at opposing boards. Each player throws his or her three washers in turn.

Each board has three holes in it from top to bottom. To score the game, the bottom (or closest) hole is 1 point, the middle hole is 3 points and the furthest (or top) hole is 5 points. The washer must be all the way in the hole in order to score. If a washer is on the board and gets knocked into the hole by an opponent's washer, the person that had the washer knocked in gets the points. The score is tallied at the end of each round.

Cancellation Scoring
If a player throws the same shot as his opponent, the opponent's score is canceled. For example, if player one has a washer in the first hole (1 point) and a washer in the second hole (3 points), but the third washer missed, his or her score would be 4 points. If player two throws a washer in the first hole for 1 point and in the last hole for 5 points, and misses the last shot, player two would have 5 points and player one would have his scored knocked down to 3 points, because player two's first shot cancelled player one's 1-point shot. For a less-competitive game or for young players, cancellation scoring can be suspended.

Texas horseshoes is typically played to 21 points. However, if one team makes 11 or more points and the other team still has no points, the team with 11 points wins the game. The team with no points is "skunked."

The first team to reach exactly 21 points wins the game. If a player has 18 points, then throws a washer in the last hole and gets 5 points and misses the other two shots, that player or team goes back to 13 points. The points gained for that play get deducted from the points at the start of that round (18, in this example). As with cancellation scoring, you can suspend this rule for young players to make it simpler, either by allowing a team to score more than 21 or by simply canceling the score for the round if it's higher than 21.

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